Gaza death toll… 112 and counting

The best place to follow it is IMEMC, it seems to me.

Over the course of an invasion like this, mistakes tend to happen. Like, for example, the mistake Israeli snipers made when they shot 13-year old Iman Alhamas 20 times. Not to worry though. “Military sources… said the case was being investigated and confirmed the possibility that she had been shot from several posts.”

Egypt and Gaza

An interesting story from swissinfo, again via Newsinsider. Apparently Egypt and Israel are working on a border deal for Gaza. The idea is that Egyptian police would take over the policing of the border. The article discusses it in terms of two things — first, Egyptians would stop ‘smugglers’ of weapons… must be all those ‘tunnels’ the Israelis uncover every time they bulldoze a neighbourhood and slaughter the inhabitants. Second, the deal would give “the Palestinians unrestricted access to an Arab country for the first time since Israel captured Gaza in 1967.”

Since the smuggling weapons business is just a pretext for the Israeli raids, we can turn to the ‘unrestricted access’. I doubt it. That would conflict with the US/Israel’s vision of the Palestinian future, being one of life in open-air prisons, where people starve and die and are periodically killed by remote control if they try to revolt, but for which the US/Israel take no responsibility. I suppose all things being equal Israel would rather Egyptians be the prison guards. But I doubt that’s a foregone conclusion either, and I doubt that’s the role Egypt sees itself playing. I also doubt that, should Palestinians revolt against their future Egyptian prison guards, the whole thing could be kept up for very long — how long would the Iraqi army, or the rest of the ‘Coalition’, last against the insurgency without the US presence there. If it’s true that Israel wants out of Gaza, getting the Egyptians to take over might seem like a good plan. But I don’t see it working out the way Israel hopes. And in any case, Uri Avnery argues pretty persuasively here that Sharon really doesn’t plan to leave Gaza at all.

Homelessness in Rafah

I am reproducing below a very short press release from the United Nations refugee agency. It is self-explanatory.

Latest Israeli Operation Leaves 575 Palestinians Homeless

Gaza – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has completed its initial assessment of the numbers of homes demolished or damaged beyond repair during the latest Israeli military operation in Rafah.

Continue reading “Homelessness in Rafah”


I was wrong — this needs to be blogged, despite the fact that it is all over mainstream outlets. It looks like another line has been crossed, with Israel launching a missile attack into a crowd of people in Gaza, essentially a flat out massacre of civilians, without even any kind of pretext (most Israeli massacres of civilians come with a pretext). The absence of a pretext in this attack is a sign of impunity, I suppose related to the fact that the only forces that can restrain the Israeli military are the US (firmly dedicated to committing massacres with impunity and unlikely to play any restraining role) and the Israeli public (which is, actually, hopefully, less interested in these kinds of massacres).

It’s worth mentioning that apologists for Israeli atrocities always make a point of trying to differentiate Israel’s massacres of civilians from the Palestinian suicide bombers. They are not making the quantitative argument that Israel kills more civilians, which is the case, or that Israel starves Palestinians and the reverse is not true, also the case, and so on. Instead, they are saying that the Palestinian bombs are meant to kill civilians, deliberately, by design, whereas Israel kills Palestinians by accident. It was outrageous when they were using it before, but I suppose they’ll probably stop using it now.

Not that you need arguments when you have helicopter gunships and missiles.

Much more gravely, this is a glimpse of what Sharon’s ethnic cleansing plan for the Palestinians is: it has always been to use artillery against densely populated civilian areas and commit atrocities that dwarf the Jenin massacre of 2002. It is a ‘feeler’: if there isn’t a major reaction from the Israeli public or the US, there will be more such massacres, and soon.

Below is the note from the ISM.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
For Immediate Release

13 people, mostly youths are reported killed, more than 60 injured

[Rafah, Gaza Strip] Israeli army helicopter gunships and tanks opened fire on a nonviolent civilian demonstration in Rafah early this afternoon. 13 Palestinian are repored killed, including 2 children, and 60 injured.

Approximately 3.000 Palestinian civilians from Rafah, mostly youths, were peacefully demonstrating to protest the recent military operation in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses reported that 4 missiles were fired from helicopter gunships and tanks fired shells at the crowd of unarmed civilians.

Hospitals are overflowed and cannot handle the situation, chief hospital spokesperson said.

This recent attack raised the previous death toll to 37 people in one of the bloodiest military operation since the beginning of the second Intifada.

For more information, please contact:

Mohammed Ali (English and Arabic): 972-59 841672
Adwan (English and Arabic): 972-59 304628
Dr. Ali Musa (Director of Rafah’s Hospital): +972-8-2132-616
Sa’id Zoroub (Mayor of Rafah): +972-59-408-391 or +972-8-21-37-951 (Office)
Ali Barhoum (Rafah Municipality): +972-59-815-100 or +972-8-21-37- 951
Dr. Youssef Musa (Director UNRWA Clinic in Gaza): +972-59-410-490

ISM Media Office: +972-2.277.4602

… and back to Gaza

After our brief excursion into optimism, let us return to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, where Israel is launching missiles, artillery, and aggression into neighbourhoods. Using the newswire, a valuable resource.

There was all the home destruction in Rafah.

The shelling of residental areas.

The shelling of a mosque.

Assassinations of Islamic Jihad and people anywhere near people suspected of belonging to said group.

Standard patterns of wreckage, destruction, and murder that are the daily diet of Palestinians, especially in Gaza, and especially in Rafah, courtesy of the Israeli military and the US government. These are being reported in the mainstream media as ‘retaliations’.